From Compulsive eBay Buyer to Self-Trusting, Balanced Shopper

The following is a guest post from Tonya, a longtime reader of this blog who has agreed to share her “story of recovery” with all of you.  Tonya is an active member of my private Facebook group, where she recently shared her story about downsizing her wardrobe, shopping smarter, and honing her style.  I thought what she had to say would be inspiring for all readers of “Recovering Shopaholic.” I asked if she would be willing to expand upon her story and share some before and after closet photos.

If you would like to be profiled in the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired), or if you have an idea for another type of guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.


Getting My “Fix” Without Going Back into Debt

I first found Debbie’s blog in May of 2013.  Up to that point, the only resources that I had found were a couple of bloggers doing shopping bans, debt blogs, and questions to ask yourself to find out if you were a shopaholic.  I had gotten myself out of debt, cut my spending by about a third, had a closet stuffed with 500-600 items, and discovered eBay.  You can buy an awful lot for a small amount of money there.  I was able to get my “fix” without going back into debt.

Closet overload

Is your closet stuffed yet you keep buying more and more? 

Continue reading

How Minimalism Helped Me Find My Authentic Style

The following is a guest post from Megan, who agreed to share her “story of recovery” with all of you.  Megan is a member of my private Facebook group, where shared comments about her wardrobe and style evolution that I thought would be inspiring for all readers of “Recovering Shopaholic.” I asked her if she’d be willing to expand upon her story so we could all learn from her experience, and this post is the result. 

If you would like to be profiled in the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired), or if you have an idea for another type of guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.


“I Hate Everything in My Closet!”

Minimalist Wardrobe

This wasn’t what my closet looked like when I started my journey!

My story started with a prolonged mental state of “I hate everything in my closet!” I remember that I was running late all the time because it took me forever to get dressed, and I still felt unhappy when I finally did get out the door. I melted down in the middle of great vacation trips because I was not wearing appropriate clothes. I was constantly in the “shopping cycle” but had no good outfits to show for it.

Continue reading

Pre-Purchase Structures at Home and on Vacation

The following is an email I received from reader Jamieson, who wrote to me in response to my recent post on shopping support structures.  Jamieson shared some of the structures she has in place to prevent overshopping, and she also related a recent success story of how she shopped more consciously while vacationing in a location that is known for its incredible shopping. I was inspired by Jamieson’s story and asked if I could share it with all of you.  Thankfully, she not only said yes but also sent me some fabulous photos to accompany this post. 

If you would like to be profiled in the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired and you don’t have to be 100% recovered), or if you have an idea for another type of guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.


I have been working on my own version of “pre-purchase structures” and I thought maybe you might be interested in hearing about them. Your blog has definitely informed my journey away from “grasp-y” consumerism, so thank you. My biggest pre-purchase structure I now have in place is that I pretty much always check in with my husband first before buying anything. I was resistant to do this for so long because it felt too much like I had to ask permission or something weirdly patriarchal. But really, it’s more about being honest with your life partner and best friend, and surprisingly it feels more like a relief than anything else.

Continue reading

Overcoming Debt and Improving Family Life in a Few Short Months

The following was posted in the comments section of my “August Grab Bag of Useful Links” post by a reader named Gabby, who shared her recent success with shopping less, overcoming debt, and reclaiming family life.   Although some of you may have read her comment, I thought it merited higher visibility as part of my “Stories of Recovery” series, especially since we haven’t had an installment in that series for a while.  I have done some light editing of Gabby’s words and moved things around a bit for impact, but the essence of her inspiring tale remains the same.

Summer family picnic

Gabby focused on summer fun with her family instead of shopping.

If you would like to be profiled in the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired), or if you have an idea for another type of guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.  Since I’m taking a modified blogging break during September, I’m especially interested in any content you’d like to contribute here this month.

Continue reading

From Spiraling Out of Control to Thoughtful Shopper

The following is an email I received from reader Jessica (now blogging at “One Hundred Hangers“), who wrote to me to share her journey of overcoming a serious compulsive shopping problem.  I was so inspired by her story (she gave me some great ideas to use in my own recovery) that I asked if I could share her letter as part of my “Stories of Recovery” series.   She graciously agreed and I’m delighted to share her words of wisdom with you today!

Thoughtful Shopper

It is completely possible to shop thoughtfully & love our wardrobes! 

If you would like to be profiled in the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired), or if you have an idea for another type of guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts. Continue reading

On Paring Down, Project 333, and World Travel

The following is a guest post from Chau Le of Milo Theory, a globetrotter (14+ countries) and avid Krav Maga addict (she’s training to become an instructor). Chau lived abroad in Taiwan and Spain during her college years, picking up languages and a love for exotic, foreign foods. She relocated to sunny California after graduating from Portland State University and is currently pursuing a career in Communications and PR.  She loves cookies and considers her move to go to graduate school in Belgium (and quitting after 10 days) to be one of the hardest and best decisions of her life.

Chau Le, The Traveling Cherub

Chau Le enjoying her European journey. 

We’ve entered a new year, and can put Black Friday, Christmas sales, and crowded January returning sessions behind us.   So I thought it would be a good time to write about how Project 333 instilled a zen-like calmness in me that helped prevent me from rushing to Macy’s at 5 a.m., possibly saving me from actual bodily harm from fighting the crazed masses trying to get the cheapest deals at the door.

Continue reading

From “Sale-a-holic” to Yogastic Shopping Planner

The following is a guest post from Mette Balslev Greve, who shares her journey from being a “sale-a-holic” with three jam-packed closets to becoming a conscious shopper with a pared down, cohesive wardrobe.   Mette, a self-described “nerd,” used her love of planning and systems (a girl after my own heart!) to turn things around quickly and powerfully.  She shares her wardrobe management and shopping processes, as well as many of her fun and stylish outfits, on her blog, The Yogastic Shopping Planner.

If you would like to be profiled in the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired), or if you have an idea for another type of guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.


The Before

I guess I used to be a “sale-a-holic.” I’ve bought so much on sale during the past 10-15 years that I had three jam-packed closets full of stuff last year. I really liked some of it, but it was hard to tell where the good stuff was. I couldn’t see the forest through the trees.  Lots of the items still had price tags attached. I used to say that I loved having new things in my closet, but they just needed some time to “settle in” before I wore them. Continue reading